Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

build on - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

phrasal verb [transitive]
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theybuild on
he/she/itbuilds on
present participlebuilding on
past tensebuilt on
past participlebuilt on
  1. 1

    build on


    build onto

    build something on/onto something to build a new room or part onto the outside of a building

    They’ve had an extension built onto the side of the building.

  2. 2

    build on


    build upon

    build on/upon something to do something in addition to what you have already achieved

    We need to build on the ideas we have had so far.

See also main entry: build


to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play